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The Big Question: No-Buyer’s Remorse | Manolo for the Big Girl

The Big Question: No-Buyer’s Remorse

January is my traditional No Buy month –wherein I don’t buy anything, ANYTHING other than food and the bare necessities for human survival– I’ve been haunted by the memory of wonderful shoes and objets that I failed to buy. Of all these, the one I most regret not buying was a tiny figural brooch in the shape of a goat, at some antique shop outside Oklahoma City. It had ruby eyes and was –not unlike myself– equal parts fabulous and evil.  With than in mind…

 Francesca and Plumcake want to know:

What is the one delicious goody you regret NOT buying?

27 Responses to “The Big Question: No-Buyer’s Remorse”

  1. Annalucia January 31, 2008 at 11:02 am #

    Fifteen or twenty years ago the Garnet Hill catalog carried much more of women’s underclothing than they do now; in fact they carried garter stockings of silk. Yes, silk, in several colors.

    The Annalucia lusted after those stockings but hesitated at the price (perhaps thirty dollars the pair? She cannot quite remember) and then decided she would reward herself with the stockings after she had lost such-and-such amount of weight. This never happened, of course, or rather, by the time the Annalucia did take off some weight the stockings were long gone from the catalog.

    [Great sighings]

  2. Toby Wollin January 31, 2008 at 11:07 am #

    Plumcake, I learned a lesson from my late lamented Ma about shopping which has served me in good stead all of my adult life: “If you ever see green shoes…and they fit…and they don’t cost “the earth”, buy them because a) you will never get back to this store again and b) even if you do, the chances that the same shoes in the same color and in your size being available are close to zero.” The corrolary of this shopping rule is “if there is only one of something on the rack and it fits, that means that the Fates mean for you to have it. If you hesitate and decide to come back later, it will not be there.” I have proved this to myself numerous times with shoes, sweaters, gorgeous dresses, etc. The second corrolary to this is “If you are traveling, especially in a foreign country, and the thing (whatever it is) is wonderful, beautiful, FITS(!), and is something you can’t get in your home country, even if it DOES cost “the earth” (like…I figure something hovering around the level of more than a week’s salary, but less than a house payment), GET IT – you will never be back in this same place again and whatever you fell in love with will not be there either. You will always regret it.
    I have had two instances where these did not hold and both were in TJ Maxx and involved a London Fog lined gabardine raincoat in teal and a Ralph Lauren black and white herringbone jacket. In both cases they sat on the racks for weeks, unloved except by me, for the simple reason that they were size 14s with size 8 tags in them. I never look at tags – I always pull things off the rack and hold them up on myself to gauge whether or not they will fit. In this case, obviously everyone else looked at the tags and walked away. But that is another issue entirely.

  3. bobbie-sue January 31, 2008 at 11:49 am #

    Pointy toed slingbacks made of this purplish irridescent HUGE faux python… they looked like they were made out of dragonskin. I totally totally regret not buying them. At the time I thought they were too frivolous and what on earth would I ever wear them with. The answer: Who cares! Even if I wore them once it would have been worth it.

    Now, if I had seen BOOTS made of the same dragonskin….

  4. Dowdydiva January 31, 2008 at 11:59 am #

    Gorgeous Sigerson Morrison white patent pumps for $99, and a Talbot’s lambskin jacket that was as soft as buttah for not much more than that. Ahhhh.

  5. Amy January 31, 2008 at 12:18 pm #

    about 4 years ago there was a skirt at Lane Bryant that I love love loved. It was shades of green and ivory and looked like it could have been made out of someone’s drapes. Because of that, I call it The Von Trapp Family Skirt. It was gorgeous in that “even though this is maybe kind of not that pretty, I love it!” way. The first time I saw it they had my size, but I didn’t buy it. I thought about it for a week or so and decided to go back and get it. When I went back, they didnt’ have my size – anywhere. I checked online, I checked multiple stores and it was nowhere. I’m still sad about it.

  6. Carrie Ann January 31, 2008 at 12:29 pm #

    A pair of classic Frye boots in my size at DSW for $70. I can’t believe I didn’t walk out of the store with those. Ah, stupid youth.

  7. Twistie January 31, 2008 at 2:22 pm #

    Oh Plumcake! If I’d seen that goat pin, it would absolutely be mine. I just hope whoever bought it loves it as we would have.

    My story of The One That Got Away is a bit sad now. Several years ago, at the Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco, there was the most amazing shoemaker. He had these brilliant tapestry cloth flat boots. The laces were held in place by these fabulous fleur-de-lys of black leather. I was smart enough to get one pair, black with red roses and gold scrolls. Everywhere I wear them, people stop me in the street to ask where they came from. They’re gloriously comfortable for walking or for lounging. I wanted more, but even though they were very good prices for handmade shoes, they were more than I could afford, really. So I took his flyer with his contact information and price list.

    Alas! I never got another pair of shoes from him. I lost the flyer. He never returned to the fair.

    In december, I learned he’d died that year.

    Dammit.

    If I ever find another shoemaker like him, budget be damned. I’m getting more than one pair.

  8. Ashe Mischief January 31, 2008 at 2:42 pm #

    To this day:
    Post Hurricane Katrina, I had just relocated, was working to keep my mind off leaving behind friends & family, and making rather good money. My life, at that point, was rather “luxurious” (for myself, a recent college graduate working retail). But I was using retail as a means of coping, and bought a lot of shit I didn’t really need or care for after a time being.

    But the one thing that I didn’t buy, as the cost intimidated me: this beautiful pair of turquoise patent and brown suede D’orsay heels by Manolo Blahnik. They were about $750 through Neiman Marcus, and absolutely beautiful. They had a lovely sort of fleur design on them, which reminded me much of my beloved New Orleans. I had the money, but wasn’t sure if I could deal with the buyer’s remorse. By the time I had managed to convince myself they were worth the investment and cost, they had sold out in my size. I think I have run across them once or twice on Ebay, but never when I truly had the cash in pocket.

    Maybe one day they will return to me…

  9. TropicalChrome January 31, 2008 at 2:53 pm #

    A pair of simple, elegant, perfect purple velvet pumps from Nordstroms. I had nowhere to wear them and nowhere I could even imagine wearing them.

    Of course, you know what happened next: I found the greatest dress for the company Christmas party and those would have been the perfect shoes to go with it. But alas, the shoes were long gone.

    This happened well over 15 years ago and I still think about those shoes. If I ever see purple velvet pumps again that fit, I’m getting them.

  10. fantasmicalfrankie January 31, 2008 at 3:31 pm #

    A gorgeous vintage rhinestone pin that would’ve gone fantastically with the jewel in a beautiful vintage hat. It was $24, which was waaay more than I wanted to pay at the time. I went back for it after mulling it over for a bit, and it was GONE. I almost bawled a few times, and then I saw my 60’s Pendleton poncho. Same price as the pin. Greatest deal of 2007.

  11. Baba Yaga January 31, 2008 at 5:45 pm #

    There are five goat pins for sale on eBay right this minute. Good heavenly days! No one needs to cherish unrequited longings for goat brooches!

  12. C* January 31, 2008 at 5:52 pm #

    I found the most perfect wedding shoes on the planet (gold, round toe mary janes with a kitten heel, size 9, $24.99) at a local shop that doesn’t allow returns. At the time I hadn’t officially purchased my dress, so I waited to buy them thinking they’d still be there in a couple of weeks because I was worried about the color being weird with my dress (it had some gold on it). Alas, when I went back they were gone and the store said the style had been discontinued. I searched the internet high and low to find a pair, and I managed to find one pair on ebay for twice the price. I bought them immediately and then received an email from the seller telling me the size had been listed incorrectly and would I mind that they were 2 sizes smaller than advertised. I got a refund.

    I ended up wearing a pair of fabulous Donald J. Pliner pumps, which I love, Love, LOVE, but every time I see someone with gold shoes I’m reminded of the ones that got away. *sniff*

  13. Bridey January 31, 2008 at 7:07 pm #

    I don’t have a “one that got away” story — or too many, perhaps, since I was seriously poor for a very long time — but I do have a request: Twistie, can we see a picture of those shoes? Please?

  14. La BellaDonna January 31, 2008 at 7:16 pm #

    The most recent was a pair of colonial-style shoes, carried by Jas. Townsend & Sons. They’d had the style for DECADES, and I finally had the money ($80, not that much, but more than I often have rattling loose) to get them.

    After carrying that style for YEARS, they have discontinued those shoes, replacing them with another, much clumpier, very UGLY style. What’s worse, there are a few pairs that were ALMOST my size, remaining to be sold, rubbing salt in the wound.

    As a result, I’ve started having PTSD flashbacks to the Stuart Abrams shoes I should have bought more than twenty years ago: grey suede, with a lovely low curved heel, with a suede ruffle lined in silver leather around the vamp of the shoe; and they fit. But I was being “sensible,” and thought I should save the money for the fuel bill.

    These are only two of many similar sad, sad instances. I keep saying I should learn, but I never do: Ladies, if your impulse is to buy it, there’s a reason; usually it’s true love. If something leaps out and grabs your attention, stop for a minute. Look at it, and think how you would feel if you saw it coming towards you on someone else. If it’s a truly overwhelming impulse (even if frivolous – especially if frivolous), and you can afford it without too much pain, you might really want to get it. I should have gotten that gold leather bolero, instead of spending the money on someone who no longer bothers staying in touch …

  15. La BellaDonna January 31, 2008 at 7:18 pm #

    Oh, and Twistie? What size are your feet? (Not that I’d really mug you from behind for those shoes … really …)

  16. m January 31, 2008 at 7:27 pm #

    It was a Banana Republic coat from 2006. Black, retro styled with 3/4 sleeves. I really wanted it and still think about it but at that point I was so broke there was no way i could have done even the sale price of $140. I’ve tried checking ebay and thrift and consigment stores but no luck. Mostly if it doesn’t cost much i won’t pass up things even if I’m not sure what I’ll do with them. If I think I will torture myself i’ll just get it and then if it doesnt’ work out sell on ebay or consigmnment store. I’ve made great use of some thrift store finds recently. I did pass up a bunch of things that would now probably be valuable like bakelite but I don’t regret it as I still have my $3 50’s candy apple red vinyl purse. My philosophy at the time was not to buy things I didn’t love. I did end up with pieces i loved but didn’t fit that ended up going to friends.

  17. again January 31, 2008 at 7:35 pm #

    I saw them six days ago. They were brown suede Franco Sarto pumps with a two-inch kitten heel that I wore around the store for a few minutes, and they were absolutely comfortable. They were peep-toed and had bronze piping with a little bow. (Yes, my taste wanders ever toward the ’50s and the tweeds.) There was only one pair in the store, in my size exactly, and they were FIFTEEN DOLLARS. Why didn’t I buy them? Because I’m trying to be good and buy clothes only for work; because I love, LOVE peep toes in pictures, but I don’t own any, because I wear stockings with such things and can one wear stockings with seams in the toes and kitten heels? I don’t actually know, I like them but I don’t know how to wear them; and because although I love brown (my new favorite clothing color), most of my work clothes are black, and I already have as many brown-suit shoes as black-suit shoes and though $15 is very little I am not supposed to buy things I plain don’t need. BUT I STILL WANT THEM. So, if they are there tomorrow – which they won’t be – they will become mine. (I shall report back if I get them.) In the meantime, could anyone educate me on the stocking toes/peep toes question?

  18. Lori C. January 31, 2008 at 7:59 pm #

    Of course I latch onto the fact that you were outside Oklahoma City…and I love to hear that fabulous people have spent time near where I’m forced to continue to live while I get an education. So thank you for reminding me that it has it’s nice moments:)

  19. Style Spy January 31, 2008 at 10:51 pm #

    Black patent Manolo Blahnik Pangalas, on sale at Neiman’s for around $350. They fit me like they were made for me, a rarity with Blahniks. Oh, whatever was I thinking… It still stings, Plummie. It still stings.

  20. Annalucia February 1, 2008 at 10:00 am #

    The posting from LaBellaDonna sent the Annalucia quick-quick to the Townsend site, to see if the lovely colonial-ladies’ shoe was truly being discontinued. Alas yes, and its replacement is indeed clumpy and graceless, as well as being more expensive by thirty of the American dollars.

    The Annalucia never bought these shoes; she has the wide feets and knew that the “normal” width would never fit. Still, it comforted her to know that such handsome shoes existed in the world. But not for much longer, it seems. So sad…

  21. Heather Outside Boston February 1, 2008 at 10:31 am #

    I can’t even remember the exact place or time any more (it’s been about 10 years), but I can’t get the image of that little statue out of my head: She would have fit in my hand, a small girl in bronze with her legs curled up and her head thrown back, wind in her hair, and one arm up gently. Such an unusual pose, could have been devastated or defiant, beseeching, or perhaps reaching for a helpful hand… Damn, I should have blown the budget.

  22. Kelly Girl February 1, 2008 at 11:47 am #

    While I’m sure there are many items of clothing or shoes, the first thing to pop into my head is a doll. Somewhere in the vicinity of 10 years ago I was in London. Harvey Nichols had done all the windows in a Barbie theme and there was a special limited edition commemorative doll – only 250 were produced which is an insanely small number. I can’t quite remember the price but I know it would’ve worked out to be over $100. Although I collect Barbies and she was beautiful, I already felt like I was being so extravagant with the London trip that I couldn’t justify it.

    Of course, if I’d had a brain in my head I would’ve whipped out my credit card and bought two because I could’ve come back to the US and sold the extra Barbie for enough to cover the cost of my doll and possibly part of my trip as well. Even now when the collectibles market has died down, that doll is selling for over $700.

  23. Sara February 1, 2008 at 3:21 pm #

    This one was so good, it hurts me and my dear mama. After high school graduation, I had a small pile of money from benevolent friends and relatives. Mom and I were out for a beauty hit (nature, art, fashion, etc.) and went into a little group of posh antique dealers. We were chatting with the owner, who had been putting out the items her husband had bought in the south of France.

    Among them was a trestle table so exquisite I actually got chills and weak knees. It was from the 1600s with great, fat mahogany legs that were ornately carved. The top was inlaid with simple walnut marquetry in a geometric design. The big rectangle would work perfectly as a library or dining table–and you could pull leaves out from either side to expand it (the center dropped down).

    Mom and I crawled around on the floor with flashlights inspecting it, and the table was in great condition. We talked it over, and agreed that it was a purchase that must be made, lest I regret it forever. I put down half, which was a few thousand dollars. The rest to be paid on delivery. We dashed to tell dad of my coup.

    Dad absolutely hit the roof. He was furious that I would spend so much money on something so STUPID! and FRIVOLOUS! He made me go down the next day and get my check back. The owner was angry but gave me my money back. It was so embarrassing and sad–there was crying from both me and mom.

    As it does, the money trickled through my fingers in college without anything substantial to show for it. Sometimes, mom or I will sigh and remark how much we wished we had that glorious table. So very sad.

  24. m February 1, 2008 at 4:40 pm #

    Belle – just wanted to mention that Marshalls definitely had those. CK stuff shows ups there and and Ross sometimes. Also I think Filenes too

  25. JaneC February 1, 2008 at 4:49 pm #

    The delicious goody I regret not buying/paying for wasn’t something wearable. My godmother, who teaches German at a high school, takes her students on a trip to Germany every year. One year when I was in high school she asked me if I wanted to go too, even though I knew no German. I decided not to go because I was afraid I would not fit in with the other students. Now I am sorry I did not go, because I do not know when I will have the money or the opportunity to go to Germany again.

  26. Zaftig February 2, 2008 at 1:39 am #

    Ahh… just the memories are so painful.. ok, I need a minute to pull myself together… There. I feel a bit better.

    So, it was 2 items – a black AND a cherry red (you know, that perfect not-too-bright, not-too-dark red?) belted wool jacket I tried on in a tiny little boutique off Via Condotti in Rome. The wool was incredibly soft, but the jacket was so well structured and figure flattering, with a very chic mandarin collar. The belt hit at just the right spot on my waist. The buttons were gorgeous. The quality was undeniable. And I am an idiot for hesistating because I ‘thought I was going to lost 15 lbs’ and did not want a jacket I wouldn’t be able to wear in a short while.

    I actually walked back towards the boutique a few minutes after I left, and they had closed up shop for the day. It was my last night in Rome, so I couldn’t go back. And the jackets cost the equivalent of $80 each. An immense bargain at the price…. I’m smacking my head as I think about it , because I am the same size now as I was then…. eight months ago!!